Note: Now, a few months after this post I have removed this plugin. Like many prior I ended up finding it over-aggressive. It got so bad I thought my readers had left! It turns out it lacks any suitable learning-logic and so things were getting worst not better with it. I no longer recommend it.
Stop The Stingers!
Halting WordPress Spam
While it’s a bit of a “first world problem“, sorting through spam is one of those things that eats up our valuable time as marketers and bloggers.
Akismet has long been evicted from my blog for shoddy behavior that just isn’t acceptable. It’s not on my recommended list if any of your commenters are actually regular commenters elsewhere.
Originally, basic G.A.S.P. (which is a awesome plugin) was enough to get me by (highly recommended). Then I started getting trackback spammed badly and had to add Simple Trackback Validation.
Fortunately, both of these plugins have built upon and improved and filled with new features when combined with CommentLuv in CommentLuv Premium (CLP).
Recently though, even with the work Andy and I did to ensure we could get CLP to block the famously spamtastic “Digi Auto Links” (and other similar spam plugins), the rate of human generated spam hitting my doorstep was climbing to an unpleasant level. (This is no fault of G.A.S.P. which was built to handle bots not humans.)
So, is there something more we can use?
I ruled out a LOT of the usual anti-spam plugins for the same very reason that G.A.S.P. was originally developed… most of them had “fatal flaws” that harmed my average reader at some level or another. Unacceptable stuff that you probably wouldn’t know it was doing unless you knew what to look for.
I needed something intelligent yet aggressive and comprehensive yet explicitly in my control. Oh yeah, and something that browser caching and screen readers and such don’t break.
Introducing: WordPress Anti-Spam Bee
If you need it, you’re going to love this plugin! I’m using it WITH CommentLuv Premium for great results.
Let’s be very clear. Like all plugins, WordPress AntiSpam Bee will generate false-positives that you MUST go into your spam folder and mark as “not spam”. If you chose not to do this, for any of the plugins you use, your teaching the plugin to ban comments by that person that left you a real one.
Fortunately however, this plugin does not use a centralized server like Aksimet does… which means that novice bloggers, clicking “delete all” on their spam folder without checking for false-positives, can not harm you and me (unlike Akismet).
One of my requirements was “intelligent yet aggressive”… and this plugin meets that after you’ve had a little time to train it.
The first couple weeks/months you use this plugin you will see a higher than average rate of false positives. This is because your site is different than my site and not all assumptions are safe.
You need to spend a couple weeks being very picky about what you mark as spam and what you mark as “not spam” so that you get it doing what you want it too do. This will result in a plugin that behaves very well on YOUR blog.
Originally I was concerned by the false positives, but after my trip (and being gone three weeks) returning to almost 1,000 pieces of spam, I had less than 10 false positives (between CLP & AntiSpam Bee) which is really really good. (I had carefully trained it in the weeks before I left.)
Setting up AntiSpam Bee is really easy!
Items Sent To Spam by AntiSpam Bee for WordPress
Here you see a spammed item and can see the [Marked As Spam by AntiSpamBee | Reason] note. This note, if you chose not to hide it in settings, gives you a clue as to how this was ID’d as spam.
If you chose to mark this item as “not spam” you will need to edit the comment to strip this out before you approve it (or it looks bad!) Fortunately, once you have the plugin trained you won’t have a ton of false positives and it’s no big deal.
My Current Plugin “Stack” for Busting Spam
As of the time of writing this post, my current anti-spam solution stack is CommentLuv Premium (which includes GASP Pro, STV Pro, No Self Ping, and more) plus AntiSpam Bee (with a Project HoneyPot Key in use).
I’m currently pleased with how well this stack is handling while while it occasionally misses a few human generated it doesn’t miss many!
Is AntiSpam Bee WordPress Plugin Right For You?
If you have a WordPress.org blog or CMS and have felt like you’re in a constant battle with spam that you’re just not winning, this one may be for you. I would certainly start with GASP/STV and or CLP first but if those are not enough this plugin nicely does the job. More importantly even, it behaves correctly in unusual browser situations and doesn’t prevent comments it shouldn’t.
Rating: (4/5) This plugin would be 5/5 if it had better documentation, if the developer would reply to development related email questions (not support), and if it didn’t really work best stacked with another solution (like most antispam plugins honestly do). I also wish there was a way to make it not inherently mark all FB and Twitter ID’s comments as spam but it seems to be learning slowly on that one.
~ Kim ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing
Reduce Comment Spam with Anti-Spam Bee (via WPMods.com)
Should Akismet Really Ship With WordPress (via WPMU.org)